Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday said that there would be a strict law to deal with the crimes related to stone pelting and damage to public and private properties in Madhya Pradesh.
“Stone pelters are enemies of the society… Stone pelting is not a simple crime which may cause loss of life, create an atmosphere of fear and terror and result in stampede and chaos. There will be a rule of law in Madhya Pradesh. Such criminals are not petty criminals. They will not be spared”, said chief minister responding to questions from journalists on certain stone pelting incidents that took place in Malwa region during public awareness rallies over Ayodhya’s Ram Temple in December last week by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and associated organisations.
“We are going to come with a strict law to deal with such crimes[stone pelting]… Many a time, trouble makers damage the public property, set it afire and damage private properties too… this is an unpardonable crime,” the CM added. He said democracy allowed people to express their views in a peaceful manner.
“I have already issued instructions to authorities in regard with the new law and work is going on the same. Soon, there will be such a law”, he said.
CM’s announcement come in the wake of incidents of stone pelting on VHP and associated groups’ public awareness rallies in Ujjain on December 25 and in Indore on December 29. FIRs against about 100 persons were lodged from both sides and several accused were arrested. Provisions of National Security Act (NSA) were invoked against six accused in Ujjain who were allegedly involved in the stone pelting. House of one of the accused allegedly constructed illegally was razed in Ujjain in a joint operation of district administration, police and the civic body, as per police and administration authorities.
Notably, a law has been in force in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, for recovery of damages to public and private properties from rioters and protesters.
Reacting to the CM’s announcement, state Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja said, “Any strict law against stone pelting is a welcome step but the CM should also have spoken about the crime about taking out religious rallies without permission, barging into the shrines of a particular religion, coining provocative slogans against the religion, vandalising the particular community’s properties including shrines as were witnessed in Malwa region recently. Is this not a crime in the eyes of the CM? Will he make a provision for stringent punishment on such crimes also?”